Table of Contents
For the last two years we have been in a constant state of emotional whiplash due to the pandemic.
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused untold damage around the world. A health crisis that we all thought would be resolved in a matter of weeks has lasted for two years. As the never ending event goes on, there are untold numbers of people suffering from mental health issues.
People are not used to having these ongoing emotional shifts. One day we are enjoying freedom and the next day we are worried about the hospitals being over-filled. One day we are walking around maskless, and the next day we are required to wear masks everywhere.
The stress that comes with the ongoing changes, and fear of the virus itself, has taken a huge toll on us all. Mental health is suffering because of this emotional whiplash, but there are things we can do to help manage it.
What is Emotional Whiplash?
Even the most stable, calm people have found their mental health tested throughout the pandemic. We are all feeling the effects of the constantly changing news about the virus. Our mood states have been all over the place, shifting from feelings of fear to joy to worry to disappointment. This has nothing to do with whether you are a strong person or not.
Emotional whiplash is a term that describes these unstable mood states. It is the feeling that, in a flash, we will be faced with more bad news. It seems that right when we finally adjusted to having renewed hope, along came another variant to bring us back down. All this whiplash is quite tiring and people are simply exhausted at this point.
What are the Main Mental Health Issues People are Struggling With?
The toll taken on our mental health has been significant. As a result, certain disorders and maladaptive coping techniques have increased during the pandemic. Some of these include:
- Anxiety. When people feel they lack control over a situation it makes them anxious, worried, and stressed out. Anxiety causes you to fear situations, to struggle with sleep, and to have symptoms like headaches or stomach distress. People who might have already been dealing with an anxiety disorder, and managing it, found their condition getting much worse. People who didn’t have anxiety prior to Covid found themselves more and more anxious by the month.
- Depression. Many have struggled with depression during the pandemic. Some lost loved ones to Covid, some lost jobs, others found themselves feeling very lonely. It got harder to spring back, to keep their spirits up, and some became hopeless. Depression presents with fatigue, sadness, despair, weight changes, sleep issues, and even thoughts of suicide.
- Substance abuse. Last year there were a record number of overdose deaths in the US. The CDC reported over 100,000 deaths due to substance abuse. The year before was also a record breaker for overdose deaths, with 93,000 reported. This is no coincidence, but rather a symptom of the impact of the pandemic on mental health.
6 Ways to Manage Mental Health During the Pandemic
As we begin the third year of the Covid crisis we must take stock and devise a proactive plan for protecting mental health. Here are some actions to take in 2022:
- Get fit and healthy. If there is one thing the world has learned it is that obesity and high blood sugar creates higher risk. Engaging in regular exercise helps us get fit and healthy, but it is very good for boosting our mood state.
- Limit the news. By turning off the daily news reports you can protect your mental health. You gain more control over your thoughts and can use that time in a more productive way. Instead of being held captive by the news, use that time to read, visit a friend, or engage in a hobby.
- Learn how to relax. Reduce stress and improve your mood state by learning some holistic methods. Techniques like mindfulness, deep breathing, yoga, and guided meditation can help you achieve a calm state of mind.
- Get better sleep. We need at least seven hours of good, solid sleep each day to achieve sound mental health. Sleep restores our mind, our body, and our psyche. Try to improve sleep quality by keeping a daily sleep schedule, which lets your body set a healthy circadian rhythm.
- Nurture relationships. Humans thrive when their core relationships are healthy. Take special care to improve your connections. Spend quality time with the ones you love, and make each other feel special.
- Start a new hobby or venture. When you are focused on achieving a goal you distract yourself from the day-to-day stress of Covid. Make a conscious effort to set a new goal this year or to take up a new hobby.
Getting Mental Health Treatment
If, after trying these tips you still find yourself struggling with mental health concerns, do reach out and seek help. Whether your battle is substance abuse, depression, or anxiety, there is treatment and support out there to help you through it.
A mental health evaluation can shed some light as to what you might need. There are treatment programs of various levels of care to help you focus on your mental health needs. There are mental health private practice services, mental health retreats, outpatient programs, and residential programs. In other words, there is help available for you.
Emotional whiplash is very real, and very unhealthy. Treatment and learning new coping techniques can help get you to a more balanced state of mind.
The Treatment Specialist is an Online Resource for Mental Health Information
The Treatment Specialist is an online resource for informative articles on mental health conditions and treatment options for adults, teens, and families. If you or a loved one is having a hard time due to the effects of emotional whiplash, give us a call today at (866) 644-7911.